Rebirth of the machine

The human body is a pretty amazing thing.

It’s been three weeks since I mangled my ankle on a cold gym floor while being pursued by a guy wielding a rubber knife, and it’s been an awful time. Off my feet despite great weather outside… on the ground when there’ve been multiple jumping opportunities at dropzones… and the sheer impotent frustration of not being able to do stuff you’ve taken for granted all your life. Even a trip to the supermarket is a major undertaking if you’re on a crutch. A ten-minute walk feels like a lifetime. And a flight of stairs requires forehead-beading concentration.

But now it’s putting itself back together. I’ve been ‘walking’ since Monday: not quite anthropologically efficiently, but including the roll from heel to ball, and today I’m achieving the push-off-from-forefoot thing too, enabling proper bipedal locomotion with just a slight limp. Wavy.

But this is the weird bit: my left foot is on fire. Every half hour or so there’s a muffled explosion of searing heat somewhere deep inside my shin, which pulses outwards and blows back from the toes before dwindling. Then less frequently but with similar intensity there’s an ache like being punched from the inside.

And of course, there’s no heat or punch happening at all. It’s just the bundle of nerves that got stretched and splintered at the beginning of the month, back on the gym floor. Those ganglia are bedding back in, like new wiring on an old building, and before everything works properly they have to figure out all the feedback loops and drains and accumulations of electrons whizzing down the pipes. Which an organ six feet away registers as pain.

The great machine is slowly but surely repairing itself, without me having to do a thing, and with nothing more than chomped protein and water (OK, mostly Guinness) to work with.

My body. You’re weak, squishy, and far too easily damaged, but you’re mine and I love you.

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